Article Review on “The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950.”

“The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950.”, Susan Schulten

In “The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950.”, Susan Schulten delineates how maps were rare in the nineteenth century America, owing to cultural and technological reasons. Culturally, this was because maps were deemed relevant from a national rather than an international context. Maps were also rare owing to technological reasons. This is because it was quite costly and laborious to undertake map-work, meaning that only a handful of companies got into it.  While the author of the article is very eloquent in describing the contents of the maps, they have not given any details on the lifestyles of the Native Americans that the maps allude to.  The author has also revealed that the maps were not meant to be kept but it would be interesting to find out why the maps should have remained a secret.

Another useful finding from this article is that the atlases integrated arguments of human possibility and racial determinism. They further helped to reveal a political and social order of the world as well as the racial division evident in America.  Given the difficulty in keeping maps in the nineteenth century, the action of Westerners to copy one of the maps has given us useful insights into the hunter and gatherer way of life of the Native Americans. Towards this end, the author of the article review has examined this issue, going as far as to suggest that with the advancement in technology, it is now possible to identify from these maps where exactly these activities took place.

The author has also done his/her best in trying to explain the relationship between oral practices and the Native American Maps. This is a clear indication that the author was open-minded while reviewing the article. It ensures that the reader easily identifies with the contents of the article under review even without having read it.